Who We Are
SARCO Architects is a small-sized boutique architectural firm located in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is a family business owned by Roderick and his wife, both of whom are architects.
The firm works exclusively with international clients, providing high-end custom architectural design services for luxury vacation homes and investment properties in Costa Rica, Panama and the Caribbean.
SARCO Architects was founded in 1972 by Heubert Anderson, handling all types of residential work for local clients. His son, Roderick, grew up accompanying him to construction sites, building suppliers and even client meetings.
Roderick followed in his father’s footsteps and was studying architecture in 1995 when his father passed away suddenly.
At the young age of 22, long before he felt ready to take over the reins, Roderick was faced with the difficult decision of whether to close SARCO Architects or face the challenge of keeping the business going as his own. He decided to plow forward.
I learned the core of good design and construction from my father. And his values became mine too – honesty, hard work and a compelling desire to delight our clients.
While those first years were difficult, hard work and dedication paid off and the company thrived. Roderick executed multiplex cinema projects that were on the tables at the time of his father’s passing and then did many small projects and renovations that he picked up on his own.
Soon SARCO Architects was back to designing new residences for local clients as Roderick’s father did before.
Defining Our Specialty
As the reputation for SARCO Architects grew, Roderick and his small firm were soon offered a new opportunity: designing luxurious custom vacation homes in coastal areas for international clients. The work was demanding but satisfying as the company sought to successfully meet its clients’ high standards.
Over the course of the next decade, SARCO Architects would gain recognition for the quality of its designs. It refined the process for working with its exclusive international clientele in Costa Rica’s “tico” environment. Its clients came from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, UK, Australia, Canada, Dubai and the United States and had widely diverse desires.
“The features in a home that were important to someone from Los Angeles differed greatly from the desires of our Austrian clients,” Roderick explains.
12 Years working exclusively with international clients
Roderick and his team found the variety challenging and refreshing. They focused on listening deeply to each client, then creating a customized home with architectural excellence that was an expression of that client’s individual desires.
“SARCO Architects is not a firm with a signature style,” Roderick explains. “We made a conscious decision that we didn’t want to be identified with one particular type of architecture. Instead, where we excel is in being able to express each client’s personality through modern tropical design. We adjust our approach so every home blends with its surroundings and is a true reflection of its owner’s vision.”
The Search for Better Software Tools
Early on in the business, Roderick, like most architects at that time, relied on CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) to create his drawings. But he soon recognized its shortcomings.
CAD drawings were a flat, 2-D approach. Often, in the building phase, design mistakes became evident. These mistakes weren’t the result of careless work; they reflected the limitations of the tools.
Roderick embarked on a worldwide search for better technology. After much experimentation, he zeroed in on Building Information Modeling (BIM), 3-D modeling software, something no other firm in Costa Rica at the time was using.
“BIM changed everything,” Roderick says. We no longer had to interpret complex CAD drawings. We were able to build our designs virtually and include the finest degree of detail.”
3D Modeling, A Game Changer
Soon SARCO Architects realized 3D modeling not only allowed them to better develop and perfect their designs; it also helped their clients to visualize their homes in a way they never could with CAD drawings and blueprints.
“Today BIM 3D modeling is a huge part of what we do,” Roderick says. “It’s how we present projects to clients. They can look at the designs on their home PC, tablet or Smartphone. The drawings and models are completely transparent and extremely detailed. They can see everything from the views out the windows to the texture of the tile in their shower.”
We virtually build every element in our designs, so we can truly visualise the proper coordination between systems, architecture and structure. Our clients truly understand their design, which reduces costly change orders.
Virtual Designs Simplify the Process
SARCO Architects’ international clients appreciated another benefit of 3D modeling; they didn’t need to travel frequently to Costa Rica to babysit their project or make design decisions. They were able to keep up with the progress through the virtual designs.
“The 3-D models allow us to walk clients through their homes remotely,” Roderick says. “They can see through, around and above their house, viewing it from any angle. 3-D bridges the distance between the client’s home country and Costa Rica.”
Today, while the architectural industry is slowly changing from CAD to BIM, SARCO Architects has been working in BIM tools exclusively for over a decade.
“Our level of expertise has been described as one of the leading examples in Latin America,” says Roderick, who has given lectures around the world on the merits of 3-D software. “SARCO Architects is recognized as the leading firm in Costa Rica in the application of BIM technology to high-end luxury homes.”
Unlike other firms, our 3D models aren’t just to sell the project with pretty renderings. Our designs are completely built virtually for error-free drawings with perfect drawing coordination.
Better Technology = Better Construction
The level of detail in 3-D modeling allows construction of the home to proceed more smoothly. No features are left open to interpretation by the builder. Any design issues are resolved before the shovel meets the dirt. Builders are able to provide more accurate estimates because they can now understand and visualize every detail.
SARCO Architects also uses leading edge project management technology. As a property’s features are refined and design decisions made – whether by the client, the architect, the interior designer or builder – the details are added to the model.
Everyone working on the project sees the updates. And the client can track exactly what progress is made, providing input as needed.
“The project management software we use is a great efficiency gain,” Roderick explains. “It facilitates communication between everyone on the team and helps us avoid any misunderstandings. As a result, the building process is faster, more efficient and a lot less stressful for everyone involved.”
Most of the homes SARCO Architects build are in Costa Rica’s coastal areas such as Guanacaste. Proper design is essential to reduce energy consumption in those tropical locations. The firm prides itself on building environmentally responsible projects, paying careful attention to ecological features.
It uses its 3-D software to generate accurate energy consumption reports in the pre-construction phase. “Over 70% of the energy expense of a large home is driven by the architectural design,” Roderick explains.
“The home’s solar orientation, shading, size and location of windows, and specification of materials that keep the heat out are all design elements we optimize to reduce future energy costs and a home’s carbon footprint. We believe having the technology to measure a design’s efficiency before construction begins is essential to eco-friendly design.”
Why SARCO Architects
Building a home abroad can be challenging. You want an architect you can trust, and whose work speaks for itself.
SARCO Architects has been designing stunning, environmentally responsible, highly functioning luxury homes for international clients for over a decade.
Our properties have won numerous architectural honors including highly coveted International Property Awards, which are among the world’s most prestigious design competitions.
We have a vast knowledge of Costa Rica’s natural conditions, terrain, construction systems, standards, and materials, acquired over years of experience in complex and varied projects.
Fluent in English and Spanish, we’ll work closely with you to ensure you get an exceptional home that exceeds your expectations. Our use of technology, such as 3-D modeling software and cutting edge project management tools, allows you to be involved in every aspect of the home’s design.
If you’re considering a custom-built home in Costa Rica or if you are looking for expert design services for a sustainable, modern, tropical, luxury home anywhere in Panama or the Caribbean, contact us at SARCO Architects.
Let us explain the process and answer your questions. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful part of the world.
Sarco Architects Costa Rica is here to help you turn your dream home in the coast or the mountains a reality.
Roderick Anderson is the owner and president of SARCO Architects, a Costa Rican architectural design firm founded in 1972. Passionate about architecture and seeking the creation of enjoyable and life-improving spaces through design.
Always in pursuit of personal and professional improvement, extremely studious and always researching new and interesting ways of integrating technology into architecture and the services we provide our clients.
Strongly focused into producing environmentally responsible architecture and especially seeking ways to optimize and reduce the energy needs of new upcoming designs.
Roderick’s design talent has been internationally recognised and projects by SARCO Architects have now been multiple recipients of awards by the International Property Awards in London, England.